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April 24th, 2014

Darkness, imprisoning me.

So, an apology. Browsing my twitter feed this morning as I tweeted "Why don't they just get it over with and kill me?" and subsequently looking over the contents of the ol' bloggy blog, I realized that I've been a little emo lately. If we're being honest, lately extends back a tad farther than even I'm comfortable with.

If we are being brutally honest, it goes all the way back. I've long been fond of saying "Brubaker's aren't happy unless they have something to bitch about" and while I fancy myself insulated from that proclivity, I'm decidedly not immune.

I still believe that I have a valid complaint. My 9 to 5 has become soul sucking and so far beneath my capabilities that I might as well be digging a ditch. It's infected my being and causes me to seethe about every single aspect of my life that I have to "endure".

That's no way to live. I know that. If I want to fancy myself anything I can't sit around and be a mope. I'll always be angry - I can only mitigate that and direct it appropriately - but I don't have to be a whiney, milquetoast-y teenager about everything. So I'm sorry. Let's go back to being a happy-go-lucky drunk who's indignant about the right things.

We now resume your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.

Posted 10:30am
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April 23rd, 2014

This Week in Indie Rock.

- Prepare thyself for an avalanche of Jack White hucksterism as he gets ready to drop his new album. First he cameos on the MTV awards with his buddy Conan, then he went out and released the "World's Fastest Record" for record store day. You can hear the studio version of that track here, and its B-side here. And if you want some extra juice, here's Jack as Elvis in Walk Hard, which I had forgotten about. Nice turn, sir.

- Speaking of Huckster Jack, we visited his storefront as we strolled through Nashville on vacation recently, and we just missed Weezer performing in the very "Make Your Own Record Both" where the BDGF's littlest recorded a song mere hours earlier. Had it been 1993, we probably would have hung out and waited to meet Rivers, but I'm still a little shell shocked from "Beverly Hills".

- Ted Leo and Aimee Mann's collaboration The Both is out in stores as I type, and you get a taste here with their tiny desk concert.

- Brooklyn Vegan declares this your new favorite band, and I'd say watch at least the first 90 seconds, and then giggle and shake your head at how funny the turn of the century was.

- Jimmy Fallon as Tom Petty, with actual Stevie Nicks.

- Tonight we schlep all the way to Pontiac to see The Hold Steady, one of the few bands we would actually drive to that part of the world on a Wednesday to see. Here are they are with tourmates Deer Tick covering each other's songs. Lord to be seventeen forever...

Posted 10:25am
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April 17th, 2014

My daddy said reading pamphlets never made anybody give up anything.

Today I spent two hours being forced to play a board game that was supposed to teach me... ah hell I don't know, pick your corporate buzzword: bottlenecks, streamlining, workflow, synergy, dynamic integration. One of those things middle management forces upon you because you are an idiot and need to be inspired so you can see the big picture. Or some other equally bullshitty rhetoric.

Now look, I know I'm not special in the sense that everyone everywhere has to endure this. Equally, this shit is easy. Can you follow directions and repeat back the things they said to you at the beginning at the end? Hooray, you are their new favorite. It should be a small price to pay to be gainfully employed. Hell, if you like the people you work with these things could ostensibly be goof around time followed by free pizza. In that scenario, I for one welcome our new corporate bullshit overlords.

Here's my thing though: I'm 38 and I know everything they are going to say. I'm too fucking old and infinitely too smart to be condescended to about things like the benefits of "cross-training." I was the king of my own little corner of the world for too long. When problems occur while I'm at "training" because no one else knows what the fuck is going on, I want to laugh it off, but it really just fuels my anger and hatred and urge to say "See you fucking obtuse hierarchical idiots? This is what happens when we do it your way."

That gets me in trouble and the next thing you know I have to sit down and talk about my feelings. So I decide to keep my head down, shut up, and do what I'm told until the next problem arises, which I have to get indignant about and fix again, running my mouth in the process because being right all of the time is utterly exhausting. Ugh. I guess what I'm saying is that I might not be a team player.

Posted 2:46pm
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April 16th, 2014

Holiday Road

We never really went on vacation growing up. Especially if you maintain that vacation requires leaving the state - which if you live in Ohio, it absolutely does. The times we did travel revolved around taking everyone to see my older brother, who spent many years in Minnesota and Arkansas. Ten hours in the car with anyone - much less your family - can be a real measure of your patience and fortitude. My dad mitigated it by making everyone get up at 3am to get an early start, knowing that everyone would immediately go to sleep for 6 hours, allowing him to drive and listen to AM radio in peace for a while.

I've tried this trick with my family to no avail. Everytime I say "We don't need a hotel room, I'll just drive through the night and everyone can sleep!" I get looked at like I'm the devil. I know they know how to fall asleep in a moving vehicle, so I don't get what their problem is. As I have long suspected, I'm guessing it's because they all hate me and enjoy my suffering.

This year the BDGF decided we all needed to attend Space Camp. This was of course inevitable and moreover predictable in its timing, as this was the last chance to force the eldest to attend before heading off to college. So a six day trip: 24 hours and 1,500 miles in the car to sleep on a bunk bed with a paper thin mattress, go boot shopping in Nashville, do some quick spelunking and then horseback riding. Call me Griswold.

The things is, everyone had a blast. I learned the dad mantra of "It's not about me" a long time ago, and once you wrap your head around that ideal, traipsing around the country becomes bearable*. You even get to do fun things that old curmudgeons like me would never otherwise partake in. All of the pictures are of Astronaut training and not of riding in the car for an eternity, so let's pray my rapidly approaching senility will only remember the good times, and not sleeping in a teepee.

*with copious amounts of alcohol

Posted 1:12pm
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April 14th, 2014


To whom it may concern,

I am a 38 year old IT professional looking for a career change. For the past 15 years I've served as a Systems Administrator for The University of Michigan. Due to institutional changes, I no longer feel that my specific skill set is wanted nor needed at my current post.

Ideally I'd like to start along a new path. If 25 or so of you own small businesses and could employ me in an IT related capacity for even an hour a week at my current rate that'd be great too, but I'm a little spent when it comes to teaching people how to change their default printer. I mean I'm great at it - I can fix anything, but I think I have more in me to give.

My strengths are ultimately in problem solving, which means I could probably be of various uses in myriad fields. I also maintain an above average wit, can think quickly and have an expertise in doling out an avalanche of snark at a moments notice. If you can find a way to monetize this, I'm your man.

Some day I dream of owning and operating a movie theater/bar, where people could come to drink great craft beer and watch old movies. If what you want to pay me to do could incorporate that end goal, all the better.

But those are utopian ideals. Honestly, if you can pay me remotely what I make now to make widgets, I'll jump at the chance. If you leave me alone to do my job, I'll scrub toilets - and I will clean them with uncanny aplomb. Would you be interested in buying my Star Wars themed furniture on Etsy? How about hiring me to promote your company on twitter with my trademark brand of sarcasm, profanity and condescension? The point is I really just want to do something else somewhere else. Please help.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Posted 2:56pm
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April 3rd, 2014

5 innocuous things that are making me happy in and around the present moment

- New Jack White - even an instrumental - will always lead off a list of the innocuously happy. New Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! will always be an addendum to that.

- Watch! Wolverine: The Musical, the Flaming Lips sell out and a lightsaber documentary! Seriously, Star Wars and The Beatles - two things that I need a two second taste of before I just want to fall down a rabbit hole into their canon for an entire day.

- In Michigan news, Obama wuz here, The Michigan Daily adroitly sums up the basketball season (it was fun!) and most importantly for my adult children, yous about to get paid, bro.

- I was in Chicago about 10 years ago and I got dragged to a "club" where the giant 6'4" 250 pound bouncer told me as I walked in "I'm gonna let you in, but next time wear better shoes." My friend who dragged me there figuratively literally dragged me inside before I told that bloated meat sack to fuck off and I ended up getting the ever living shit beat out of me. Several years later I was nattily clad in a swanky Vegas bar, and when I gave the bartender $20 for two watered down vodka sodas, he looked at me like I had just had a conjugal visit with his sister because I "only" tipped $2 on $18 worth of drinks. I wanted to tell him to fuck off for charging $9 for a well vodka and soda. I don't do well in these types of places. They are not my scene. That's why you could audibly hear my eyes rolling at this sign I found in a bar in Ferndale a couple weeks back. I guess I like knowing my place in the world.

- Finally, in six hours I'll be driving ten hours* with the ladies of Chandler to Alabama for Space Camp. That means the blog goes quiet and your tbaggervance fix gets relegated to twitter and instagram. Wish us luck. If you never hear from me again, it's because NASA has identified my untapped potential and I'm probably in some advanced astronaut training program. See you from space, bitches.

*with a stopover in Bowling Green, KY, because how can you not?!?

Posted 10:55am
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April 1st, 2014

It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense

I understand what it means to be a tortured artist. At least I think I do. Does it mean you hate everything you create and nothing's ever good enough? If so, then I'm a tortured artist. Maybe I'm just depressed or suffer from low self esteem. They might all be the same thing.

I've had a complicated relationship with being creative my entire life. On some level it's all I want to do always and forever. Unfortunately when I do it, I inevitably hate the results. It never turns out like my intentions. I can't decide if I have any discernable talent whatsoever or I'm just compelled to do it and when I throw it out into the world people say quasi-nice things to placate me.

I've tried music, art, writing and a million different dalliances into one thing or another that combines those things and dabbles in others. I usually enjoy the process, I rarely enjoy the results. I don't know what that says about me or what I produce, but it's leaving me feeling a little hollow at the moment.

Perhaps it's just that I've been somewhat rudderless for the past year. Maybe I just want something to come slap me on the face and say "THIS you idiot." Probably I'm just a whiny emo brat who needs to constantly feel sorry for himself. I know that it all feels like a lot of simple tricks and nonsense and ultimately inconsequential.

I'm sure this'll pass. Historically the feeling abates, or at least gets covered up with faux arrogance and bravado. The real fear is that at some point you can't cover up the feeling of being exposed with a fake swagger, because then I'm really fucked.

Posted 11:46am
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This page is written and maintained by Tyler Brubaker. All content is spewed forth from the author's brain, unless otherwise credited. He views his opinion as much more valid than yours, but welcomes all thoughts and comments.